MBA Admissions Officers Evaluate Candidates Using Seven Criteria
I've arranged the seven elements in what I believe is their order of importance. My ranking is based on my own experience, and I readily admit that this priority is often contradicted. I have plenty of former students at Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and every other top school who were admitted because admissions officers liked something in their applications and threw out the rule book to accept them. So don't be discouraged if you're a little weak in some of the categories that seem important. I have many former students at all top schools who had glaring weaknesses in important categories but managed to convince the admissions staff that they had something valuable to offer.
Keep in mind as you read through the seven evaluation items that their ranking applies only to top-tier MBA programs. Less competitive schools have entirely different motivations behind their admissions decisions.
The Seven MBA Applicant Evaluation Criteria
1. GMAT Score
How you score on a meaningless exam of high school English and math skills has more impact on where you're admitted than does any other influence.
2. Your Application Essays
You'll use your application essays to create a brand for your candidacy — a statement on the value that you hope to bring to your classmate and to the alumni pool of your target schools.
3. The Timing of Your Application
At top-tier schools, applying on the third and final round is almost an automatic death sentence. You need to apply in rounds 1 or 2.
4. Your Undergraduate GPA
Most people believe that a mediocre undergraduate GPA will keep them out of elite business schools, but that's not true.
5. Your Work Experience
Even if you GMAT score and GPA are terrific, you won't get into business school without proper work experience.
6. Your Recommendations
Recommendations have always been a contentious part of the MBA admissions process. My experience tells me that they have little impact on the admit-reject decision.
7. Your Interviews
There's no doubt that a great interview can improve your chances of being admitted and that a bad interview can ruin them, but read on to see why I rank this element so low.
|2||MBA Application Essays|
|3||MBA Application Timing|
|4||Undergraduate GPA for MBA Applicants|
|5||MBA Work Experience|